Researchers: people need jobs more than cash

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The people needs jobs more than they need cash , a researcher from the Institute for Development of Economic and Finance (Indef) Eko Listiyanto said.

The government should concentrate more on providing jobs rather than giving cash aid to help cope with short term difficulties of poor, Eko said here on Monday.

The government plans to provide Rp150,000 (around US$15) per household of the country`s poor after it finally raises the price of subsidized oil fuels.

The government is expected to raise the price of subsidized premium gasoline to Rp6,500 from Rp4,500 at present per liter in the middle of this month.

"By giving the people jobs instead of cash the impact is long term and the recipients would feel respected," Eko said.

Indonesia`s poor are estimated to total 30 million among the world`s fourth largest population of around 240 million.

Eko said he doubted the theory and reason given by the government that the cash would help maintain the purchasing power of the people after the rise in the price of subsidized oil fuels.

He said the government would do better by using the cash for the construction of infrastructure and created more jobs.

If the government policy is to be adopted , the country will need revise its state budget every to provide budget for cash aid for the poor, he said.

Enny Sri Hartati, another researcher from Indef said cash aid is not the panacea to cope with poverty in the country .

Enny said she also doubted the cash aid will help improve the purchasing power of the people after the rise of the subsidized oil fuel prices.

"There is no mitigation with short term dimension to cope with shrinking purchasing power," she added.

The government may raise the fuel prices any time but it needs the majority votes at the house of representatives for the cash aid to be included in the state budget.

The government has said it would raise the fuel prices only if its proposed cash aid for the poor is approved.

Unlike in the previous time, there is no strong opposition to plan to raise the oil fuel prices, but critics said the government may use the cash aid to win popular support in next year`s general elections.

"The cash aid program has been timed ahead of the elections in 2014," they said.